For men, sport leagues are often central to memories of growing up. Reminiscing on the camaraderie of a team, snack bar nachos, the thrill of competition, family screaming from the stands, and the exhilaration of a home run, a 3 pointer right at the buzzer or a perfectly placed goal kick — all of these can bring back emotions as fresh as if they happened yesterday.
Sport Leagues Aren’t Just For Kids
We shed much of our childhood joys as we grow into our adult lives, but playing on sport leagues doesn’t have to be one of them. Adult leagues from dodgeball (yes, I said dodge ball!) to indoor volleyball, flag football, and more exist in cities and towns all across the country. As the motto of The Las Vegas Dodgeball Society says, “Who says adults can’t have recess?”
Adult sport leagues are great for couples or singles. If you’re looking to bring back that youthful, carefree feeling of playing in a league, but also want to squeeze in more quality time with your partner while doing it, you can have your Twinkie and eat it too. As a couple, it’s difficult to find activities to do together that are affordable and out of the ordinary “dinner and a movie” routine. Since many adult sport leagues are co-ed, they can give those that are dating or married a chance to bond (or, in other words, get the “we never do anything fun together anymore” nagging to stop), in an active, social environment, all without bloating the budget.
For singles it can be a real score. You can make friends, and find potential love interests, without the pressure and expense of dating.
Relax and Be One of the Guys
Same-sex sport leagues can be a heaven-sent escape from the stress of work and kids. A softball league, basketball league, or soccer team can be a fun opportunity to grab relief from the responsibilities of family life, and just be one of the guys.
Adult leagues integrate a healthy, active lifestyle, with the fun and games that made team sports such a blast growing up. When compared with being stuck on a treadmill, or the sometimes intimidating and cliquish environment of membership gyms, getting out and smacking some softballs, capturing the flag or dodging balls as they fly at your face, can be a fun, stress-free recreation loaded with health and fitness benefits. Staying active is essential as we age, in order to maintain flexibility, a healthy heart, balance and metabolism. If staying in shape is something that we must do for ourselves, why not make it an entertaining routine you look forward to every week?
The Right Team For You
Whether indoor or outdoor sports are your preference, and whether you favor serious competition, or more friendly fun, there is an adult league that is right for you. Check online for the sport or recreation that brings back the old thrill of green grass, uniforms, sunflower seeds and pre-game pep talks.
And the best part about adult sport leagues? The post-game pizza comes with beer.
(c) Can Stock Photo / photocreo
Yeah, so your wife walked out on you. Or told you to get out, one of the two. Hey, I know the feeling. I’ve been there. One day my wife of thirteen years up and left, leaving myself and our children hanging out to dry. It wasn’t like the signs weren’t there, but you live in hope, right?
I had been working two jobs for the majority of our time together, just so we could get by. I suddenly had to quit one of them after almost ten years for the sake of childcare. (The next week, I got let go at my other one, the “day job,” but that was more coincidence than anything)
And then there were the questions I had to dodge from the kids about where Mom was, keep making excuses because the shock and anger and confusion was so fresh I didn’t know up from down.
The Getting Past It Process
This is really the first step in the whole Getting Past It process – resetting your mental state from Married to Not Married. It’s like the old saying: the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Once you realize that things are now no longer what they were, it’s easier to move on.
And no, it’s not going to be easy. I know that. There are going to be days you don’t want to go to work, get out of bed, shower, any of that. It’s natural. You just had a total system shock that has disrupted all your routines and functions, and you aren’t going to know what to do next.
This is why it’s important to get your head back into the game of Life sooner than later. If you don’t have your old routines and associations to fall back on, it’s imperative you find new ones of some kind. Humans are generally, by nature, social creatures, even if it just happens to be over the Internet. It is also completely natural to tend to isolate yourself in a time of extreme duress. Or worse, engage in self-destructive behaviors.
Don’t Give In
It’s a little reductive and simplistic to say “Don’t do that,” but, seriously, don’t do that. The temptation to drink until your heart stops may be great, but it never helps anyone. Least of all, you.
The temptation to drink until your heart stops may be great, but it never helps anyone. Least of all, you.
It’s also imperative not to succumb to the sort of bitterness and anger that will accompany events like these. It’s OK to feel this way; in fact, it’s perfectly natural, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But let’s not let it become the driving force in your life. Yes, Guy Talk sometimes revolves around how the Woman Done You Wrong. But even the most avid sports fans don’t want to talk football 24/7. Likewise, even your best friend doesn’t want to hear about your evil bitch ex from you either. Or worse, see your rage in action against people who more than likely don’t deserve to be on the receiving end of it.
Furthermore, it’s important to not let any of these feelings show with your kids. It had nothing to do with them, so as much as you don’t want to take it out on any innocent bystanders as I said above, that goes triple for your kids. And hey, things will slip out. I’m just as guilty of it too. But moving on also means knowing when you screwed up, and learning from it. If you slag off their mother in front of them, you screwed up. And trust me, you will hear about it at some point.
Really, it’s in everybody’s best interests to move on, and more importantly, move forward, after your wife walked out on you. Yes, it sucks. Yes, there’s messy divorce hearings coming up with custody questions and child support and division of property and division of debt and all that. Which is precisely why moving on sooner, rather than later, will be beneficial to you – you can deal with these problems with a clearer head, without overriding feelings of pain and anger complicating an already complicated process.
Reclaiming Your Life After Your Wife Walked Out
Seriously, go read a book. Write a book. Pick up a hobby (but not too expensive!). Reassess your life, your career. Make new friends. Reconnect with old ones you haven’t seen in a while. Do something for your children. Do something for someone else’s children. Do anything that makes you see a world beyond the point where your wife walked out on you and your family. If nothing else, it’ll get your mind off of it for a little while, and sometimes a little while becomes a long while.
Otherwise… well. You ever watch that show King Of The Hill? Yeah, you know Bill? That’s not a good look on you, man.
You’re now a newly single dad. What was once a two-parent household with a one set of rules is now two households and to say only your lifestyle has changed would be an understatement. Life post-divorce brings a new routine, new systems and new rules. Adjustments will be made by both new households as the dust settles as life gets back to what will be the new normal.
Manage Your Single Dad Expectations
Take a few extra steps ahead of time and be mindful of what may come to pass. Prepare yourself for emotionally charged events that could put you into a tailspin of guilt-induced decisions. You’re a single dad packing an emergency roadside kit to handle what lies ahead. Let’s hope you don’t have to use it, but it’s nice to know you have a flare in the trunk should the need arise.
But Mom Said We Could.
The age of your children will impact their ability to adapt to the fact that they now live in two sets of households with varying sets of rules. It will also impact the pitch and level of whininess with which their protest will be delivered. Save time and your eardrums by giving some thought to your rules, boundaries and abilities ahead of time. Communicate those rules to your kids with a tone of understanding and compassion. They’ve been through a major life event. Knowing what they can expect from you and their new life will help them settle in more comfortably.
If you’re in a new house, it may be awhile before you allow their new friends to come in. If your work hours have changed, Saturday night sleepovers may be out of the question until things settle down. If you need some time to yourself, it may be lights out at 8 now instead of 9. Calmly, firmly and in a neutral setting, explain the new changes to your children at an age appropriate level. The younger the child, the less of an in-depth explanation is needed. Expect tears, exhaustion and allow yourself a heavy dose of patience as they, and you, adjust to your new routine.
The advantage of explaining the new rules to older children is that they have a better understanding of the divorce itself. They may have less difficult questions than the younger children as they have seen your marriage unravel. The potential downside to older children is their ability to verbalize their displeasure with varying levels of sarcasm, guilt and the occasional door slam. What flies as their mom’s house may not at yours. It’s neither good nor bad, it’s just what’s so. Explain the logistics behind your decisions and they will be better suited to understand and come up with creative solutions that will help everyone’s new life run smoother. They are your kids after all, allow them to surprise you with their brilliance and understanding.
Because I Said So.
Have you heard that come out of your own mouth yet? If not, just wait. It’s only a matter of time. And you know what? You’re damn right. You know why? Because at the end of the day, you’re the adult. What you say, goes. Period. I cannot stress this point enough. Yes, you are a divorced single dad. Yes, you have put your children through a life event that likely hurt them. Yes, you are likely carrying some guilt along with that, no matter how good your intentions were or what potentially hellish situation you left behind in the hopes of a better life without your ex.
Do not, I repeat, do not, allow a spinout by letting guilt control your new life and the decisions you make surrounding your children.
You are doing the best you can and that’s all anyone can ask for. Remind yourself of that fact on a daily basis and you will avoid tremendous amounts of unnecessary, battery-draining guilt. There will be times when the answer is no and it will stay that way, regardless of the methods of persuasion on behalf of the brilliant and understanding fruit of your looms.
Stay Out of the Pit
Keep your hands firmly at the ten and two position and avoid the possibility of allowing your children to pit one parent against the other, run rampant or be bought just because your marriage didn’t go the way you planned. When they get older they’ll understand, once they have your degree of life experience. At their age and with their vantage point of life, they simply cannot. Remember that and stand firm in your decisions. You are the adult. You’re in the driver’s seat
Remember that this is an adjustment period for everyone involved. At the end of what will surely be a long day in the not so distant future, pour yourself an extra glass of patience. You’re learning. You’re new to this whole single dad thing but you’ll get the hang of it. You’ll be a kick-ass single parent and you’ll hit your stride again very soon. Go easy on yourself in the meantime. And go easy on the kids too. Just remember, you’re the driver. You’re in control. Oh, and send up a flare if you need to.
The decision to divorce is never an easy one. But when divorce is the only option, spending thousands on lawyers and spending months or years in a court battle isn’t necessary. If you and your spouse can work together, you might be able to get a quickie divorce.
No Fault Divorce is Faster
The waiting period for divorce differ from state to state. There are states that have practically no waiting period at all. Some have waiting periods of up to two years. Use our Divorce Law Summaries by State to get an idea of your local divorce requirements.
No fault divorces, where you and your spouse have reached an agreement on child custody and debt/property division are the most painless way to get divorced (if there is such a thing).
The following is a more detailed list of the topics you’ll need to discuss with your future ex before deciding if a do-it-yourself quickie divorce is right for your situation:
Decide who gets what. This includes all personal and joint property you accumulated as a couple, and even before. Everything is on the table here. The items you should inventory include: household furnishings, bank and investment accounts, cars/recreation vehicles and real estate.
Debt should be divided according to ability to pay, who actually took on the debt, and the division of the property.
If either you or your soon-to-be ex opted to leave the workforce in order to raise children, take care of a family member, or because of an illness or disability, alimony may be warranted. However, be very cautious when entering into an agreement to pay alimony or spousal support. Modifying such agreements can be tough.
Child Custody/Visitation/Holiday Schedule Arrangement
Decisions about who will be the custodial parent (the parent children live with for at least 51 percent of the time) how often the non-custodial parent will have access to the kids should be decided in advance. An outline of holidays and which parent will have the children on what day should also be outlined in advance.
Non-custodial parents are obligated, by law, to pay child support to the custodial parents. To determine how much child support should be paid in your situation, check your state’s website for a child support worksheet or calculator.
Do the Paperwork
In a quickie divorce, you and your spouse will have to work together to complete all the required forms and documents. The next step is to find state approved forms for uncontested divorces. To locate the proper forms, follow the steps below:
- Simply Google “[my state] divorce forms.” For example, if you live in Nevada, you would search “Nevada divorce forms.”
- Contact your county clerk’s office. County representatives can guide you to the proper web sites to download the needed forms or inform you that you need to come to the office to obtain certain forms.
After you’ve completed all the necessary forms, go over the documents to make sure that you’ve followed all of the instructions, that each answer is as complete as possible. Be sue to print and use only black ink. If you have questions or issues in filling out the forms, you can contact your county clerk or contact the Bar Association to get contact information for low cost or pro-bono attorneys.
The next step is to file the forms with your family court. The forms should be filed in the county you reside in. You’ll need multiple copies of the forms. There will also be a filing fee which is different in each county.
Finalizing Your Quickie Divorce
Uncontested divorces don’t usually require court appearances, but some counties may hold a brief hearing. Now it’s time to file your proposed final decree, along with any other documents your state requires. Once the judge signs it, a copy will be mailed to you. In most states, the time between filing and receiving the final decree is only a matter of weeks. The final decree indicates that you are officially divorced.
The process is rich in detail, and even the smallest mistake on a form or oversight in filing the correct form can lead to a delay. Be sure to look over the paperwork several times before filing, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to an attorney. Most are willing to give limited advice in filing, but don’t expect too much.
Divorce is painful enough. There are options out there for consenting adults to dissolve their union when they collectively decide to not make the process even more painful.
Want a little help now that you’re starting over single? Not pie-in-the-sky advice, but something you can start today? Stop acting your age and take this opportunity to try something new. Give those preconceived notions the boot and learn to loosen up a little. No, we’re not talking the swinging single stereotype, just open yourself to a different experience, something you may have never tried on your own. Sound difficult? Don’t worry, we’re here to help, one step at a time. You’ve got this.
The Escape Room
You’ve met someone new. Met in person and had a few quasi-dates at the local coffee shop. She has an idea. “Don’t worry; you’ll love it!” She leans in, hand around your arm, explaining the premise behind the new escape room in town. “So we’re trapped in a room with ten other people, and we have to work together to figure out how to escape.” She waits expectantly, knowing you’ll be as excited as she is.
You aren’t. Puzzles aren’t your thing. Your idea was a day trip to a local winery, or maybe lunch along the coast. But hold off before you tell her no. Starting over means trying new things, and there’s no time like the present. Just because you’ve never done something before doesn’t mean you can’t try it now. Believe it or not, there’s room for new experiences and the winery tour. It’s all about mindset.
Too often, our early life experiences peg us as a very specific type. If you’ve ever taken a personality test, you may be thinking you fit neatly into a certain slot, and that’s not necessarily true. People are complex. After a while, we grow comfortable with the label and forget that we can change it. Everyone changes over time, but that doesn’t mean life needs to become predictable. Let’s go back in time for a bit. Here’s how to do it.
If you can dream it, you’re on the right track.
The first step to regaining that childlike wonder and desire to play (for real) is to think about it. To remember what it was to be like a kid, without worries or concerns about what someone else might think. Think back to how easy it was to jump in a lake, to fall when you were learning to skate. Worry stimulates the production of cortisol in the brain; chronic worry can wear you down, and even lead to depression in some instances.
Take a walk down memory lane and remember how wonderful it was as a child not to worry about everything you did. Now, think about what you might like to do now.
Michael was 55 years old with a teenage son keen on learning to snowboard. Eager to spend time with his son, with a bad knee and no knowledge of snowboarding, Michael signed them both up for lessons. It turns out the knee was okay, and both enjoyed the lessons. Season passes all around. “I thought I wasn’t going to like it, but I was completely wrong. I feel like a kid again in the snow,” says Michael. Opening himself to new experiences has provided a new way to connect.
How open are you?
We all carry preconceived notions of how we would handle certain situations. Some are based in past experience, but others find their roots in how we think people expect us to act. And then there’s the whole fear of the unknown thing. Having active imaginations, it’s pretty easy for us to imagine worse case scenarios. In reality, most of the things we fear will never come to pass. In reality, most of the benefits gained won’t even be considered. If you take the time to consider all the cons, do yourself a favor and try to name a few good results as well. You may be surprised once you think about it.
You’re never too old for starting over
John was widowed at age 72. For years, he had invested virtually every hour working and rarely took a vacation. When Grace died, he realized it was time for a change – for starting over. His grandchildren were growing up and would soon head off to college. Putting work aside, he jumped in with both feet. Waterparks and water slides, learning how to sew, teaching his grand-daughter carpentry skills, road trips with his daughter. There isn’t anything he won’t try. The result? He’s lighter and more accepting of the everyday. A perfectionist, he’s learned to laugh at himself and enjoy the experience, realizing that perfection isn’t necessary.
Loosen Up & Laugh…At Yourself
You’ve got to be willing to laugh at yourself. It may be difficult. We all want to think of ourselves as exceptional or at least above average. We can get it, and we can do anything, and do it well. Not always, and that’s okay. Learning to join in the laughter can be exhilarating and freeing. It releases you from the stress of perfection and allows you to enjoy the ride, realizing we’re all in this together and no one is perfect. Remember the laughter is not malicious, not meant to give offense. It connects us as we’re all in the same boat; no one is gifted in everything.
Act your shoe size, not your age
It’s an adage that can ring true, to some extent. We can all most likely remember things we said or did at 10 or 11 that weren’t out proudest moments. Skip those. Instead, remember the thrill of discovering something new, the pride you felt when you learned a new skill. You can still feel that way now, and your brain will thank you. Sure, there are any number of websites that offer brain games designed to stimulate new pathways and give your brain a workout. But consider going old school. Get out and try something new. Put that brain to work in an escape room. Learn how to ballroom dance. Or maybe give hip-hop a try. Climb on a snowboard or give a longboard a try. Want to start a little smaller? Try poetry, or graphic novels or read the classics. Be brave a little it at a time.
Broadening Your Horizons
Why bother? That’s the wrong question, try this one instead. Why not? As children, we are eager to learn new things, to take on challenges in a fresh, exciting world. As adults, we tend not to get as enthusiastic about change. We project a “been there, done that” attitude because as adults we have responsibilities, and there’s work to be done. And both of those things are true. But learning something new and managing adult responsibilities are not mutually exclusive. You can have both if you want. It really is a choice.
Back to that Escape Room Date
It doesn’t have to be a date with a new companion, though that would be fun. It can be with your kids, or your friends, or perhaps with a group of people you don’t know all that well. Regardless, the idea is to stretch yourself to embrace new ideas, to ponder new puzzles, to expand your horizons. You have the ultimate power to decide, to choose, how you want to live your life. Divorce was only one chapter. What’s next for you?
(c) Can Stock Photo / ollyy
The #YesAllWomen hashtag popped up on social networks like Facebook and Twitter in 2014 as part of the social media campaign about women in response to the tragic May 2014 killings in Isla Vista, California by gunman Elliot Rodgers, who posted a lengthy diatribe and a YouTube video detailing his misogynistic reasons for committing the murders. #YesAllWomen was an attempt to show that, while not all men participate in what has come to be called “rape culture” — the culture which objectifies women and regards them as merely subject to the desires and attitudes of men — all women do participate, whether they want to or not.
If you’re a rational, intelligent, empathetic man, the #YesAllWomen hashtag and the discussions surrounding it make for heartbreaking, eye-opening and — if we’re being honest — depressing reading. It can certainly make you question your own unintentional complicity in the rape culture it describes — are you truly innocent of sexism and misogyny? And frankly, it can make you terrified of even attempting to engage romantically with women…particularly if you’re a recently divorced dude who hasn’t had to really think about it in a long time.
The Language Has Changed
The world changes, and we must change with it. Attitudes and behaviors that were once tolerated or even acceptable — even a few years ago — are unacceptable now. When I was a kid, growing up in the 1980s in suburban Texas, for example, we thought nothing of using terms like “faggot” and “homo” as catch-all playground insults against one another. But dropping those words into conversation at a cocktail party in polite urban society these days is a pretty good way to ensure you don’t get invited to the next one.
It took me years to stop using “gay” as a synonym for “lame”, as in “Dude, your car is so gay.” There was never any real homophobia behind my language — I grew up in a family that went through the AIDS struggle in a very personal way and I never had any hatred or even dislike of LGBT people. It was simply the way I learned to talk from those around me. And many people still use that as an excuse — that it’s simply the way they were raised.
The truth is that how you or I were raised is, frankly, irrelevant. In a civilized society, where we interact with people of all races, cultures, genders and sexual orientations, we refer to people the way they want — or do not want — to be referred. We treat them with the same respect we’d want for ourselves. There’s nothing political or religious about it, by the way: it’s simply good manners, the hallmark of a true gentleman.
And that most certainly extends to the way we talk to and about women.
A Sense of Entitlement About Women
When you’re a boy, girls are weird. They look different. They act differently. They care about different things. As you grow up, so do they…and rather than being weird mutants, they become heart-wrenching, otherworldly creatures, targets of our purest desire. I mean, they have boobs, for God’s sake.
It is a cruel joke of evolutionary biology that boys become desperately interested in girls right at the moment that puberty turns them into awkward, insecure, cracked-voiced, acne-ridden meatballs. But that’s the way it goes. For most men, our first attempts at romance are metaphorically accompanied less by sexy saxophone solos and more by the sound of a drunk hobo playing a sad trombone.
Unfortunately, a lot of us go into adulthood still thinking that women are a mystery, that we have to somehow trick them into liking us…especially if we’re not conventionally attractive or charming. Worse yet, we’re taught by society and media that we deserve their attentions and affections.
This sense of entitlement gives rise to a particularly noxious subculture, typified by the PUA (or “pickup artist”) movement, who treat seduction as a sort of sleight-of-hand trick that anybody can learn if they practice from the manual long enough. For these men, women are marks who must be conned or tricked into having sex. It never seems to occur to these men that women might be actual humans with their own agency or that the reason they perpetually fail to attract the opposite sex is because they’re just really creepy and gross.
Being A Nice Guy Isn’t a Free Pass
Many men go the opposite route: they try to be as adoring and accommodating and caring as possible to the women they want…only to be dismayed to discover that simply being nice to someone doesn’t automatically mean they want to have sex with you. These are the men who complain about being “friendzoned” or — like Elliot Rodgers in his pathetic imbecile’s memoir — that “women don’t like nice guys”. They fail to understand that they are not nice guys. A nice guy is nice because he’s nice, not because he expects a reward for his decency.
Women don’t owe men their love, or their bodies. They don’t even owe you a conversation. If you try to talk to a woman at a bar and she ignores you, she’s not a bitch. She just doesn’t want to talk to you, and it doesn’t matter how convinced you are that she might find you fascinating or intriguing or sexy if she just gave you a chance. She doesn’t owe you a chance. She owes you nothing at all.
Finding Love Is Like Finding a Job
If it’s any consolation, you can think of finding love — or even sex — as being like finding a job. You may think you’re the ideal candidate for the position: after all, you’ve got every possible reference, you’re totally qualified. But that’s not your call to make. It’s the person on the other side of the desk’s call, and all the whining in the world about women isn’t going to change that. (It should go without saying that the opposite is true as well; you may be the dream applicant for the job, but that doesn’t mean you have to take it.)
If a job interview goes badly, you don’t go home and get drunk and whine that all HR people are jerks because none of them want to hire you, do you? So why would you do that when a woman turns you down?
Here’s how you treat women in the 21st century: with the same respect and courtesy you’d treat a man. Do that and you’ll receive the same respect right back from women. Yes: all women.
(c) Can Stock Photo / rmarmion